Behind the Wheel

2021 Mercedes-Benz E 350 Review: More of the same is good enough

The E 350 is a good car, but its safety systems keep it from being great.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

If you were expecting something drastically different form the 2021 Mercedes Benz E-Class, you'd be sorrily mistaken. That isn't a bad thing, however. Mercedes-Benz delivering exactly what you expect the Mercedes-Benz E 350 to deliver is exactly what buyers are looking for.

The sedan has been given a refresh the 2021 model year. If you've been in any other 2021 Mercedes model you might look at the E-Class and go, "yep, that works" and you wouldn't be wrong. The look doesn't invoke an emotional response but rather a satisfied nod in the Merc's direction.

The base model E 350 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood that is good for 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Shifting through the nine-speed automatic is smooth as silk and acceleration is rapid enough for the average citizen. Other E-Series models get more power and added EQ Boost mild-hybrid technology.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E 350The back of the Mercedes E 350 is stately.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

2021 Mercedes-Benz E 350

The new MBUX infotainment system features two 12.3-inch displays under one screen cover, just like in other Mercedes models like the GLA and GLS. The cockpit screen can be themed to Modern Classic, Sport, Progressive, and Discreet themes. There's also mood lighting that can be changed to the color of the driver's choice. Mainly it just serves as a distraction that reflects on the windows at night.

The touch pad for the infotainment screen remains groan-worthy. In some ways it functions well (swiping, making selections) but in most others the touch pad just services as a continuous reminder that it a touch screen is best and a touch pad, styled like what is in the 2022 Acura MDX, would serve better.

What does work well is the car's navigation system. The augmented display features easy-to-understand turn-by-turn directions that give the driver a better idea of where to turn than any system on the market today.

Its cabin is well-appointed and offered with a variety of textiles and finishes that range from mundane to eyebrow-raising. Seats have remained predictably comfortable for short trips but hard for long stretches of driving. There's plenty of room in the back seat for two adults and trunk space is nothing to sneeze at.

The interior is very much what you'd expect from a modern Mercedes.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The car's steering wheel has a sensor that is able to tell if your hands are off of it for even an instant and reminds you to do so. For anyone that travels distances, especially in a relatively straight line, the annoyance of not being able to drive one-handed is a nag on the driving experience.

It's not short on other safety features either, including Active Speed Limit Assist that lessens the speed you are traveling to the speed limit when the car passes and reads a speed limit sign. At best, the tech is an annoyance masquerading around as a safety feature. At worst, the safety feature becomes a safety hazard when the traffic all around the car begins whizzing by you as you try to get back to where you were and reset.

The car's safety systems are a distraction.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

That's the long and the short of it. Mercedes has once again made a car that you'll be comfortable owning, even liking, though it won't be a passionate love affair due to the increased nagging of the car's safety systems and the continued presence of the infotainment touch pad.

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New performance sedan

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 on the way with F1 tech

The new C 43 gets engine tech straight from Formula 1.

Mercedes-AMG

It's about time we started considering Mercedes-AMG's 43-level cars in some of the same conversations that include the 53- and 63-level monsters. Today, Mercedes-AMG announced the 2023 C 43 Sedan. But even though it's the "entry-level" C-Class performance car, AMG gave it some serious upgrades, including standard rear-wheel steering, a mild-hybrid system, and plenty of power.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanRear-wheel steering is standard, as is adaptive suspension. Mercedes-AMG

The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 402 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque - up from last year's 385 ponies. It's paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and rear-biased all-wheel drive. Mercedes says the powertrain is strong enough to propel the C43 to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.6 seconds.

The four-cylinder is the first production engine with an electric exhaust-gas turbocharger. The tech came directly from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team, who won the 2021 Constructor's Championship. Where traditional turbochargers have to build boost over a short period of time, an electric motor spins the turbo to start before allowing the exhaust gases to take over. The system is driven by the car's 48-volt mild-hybrid system and should reduce turbo lag and improve responsiveness.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanThe car's electric turbocharger is a first in a production car. Mercedes-AMG

Five driving modes are available, including Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, and Individual. The drive modes alter throttle and steering response, transmission shift points, exhaust sound, and settings for the adaptive dampers. Shockingly, the car comes standard with rear-wheel steering with an angle of up to 2.5 degrees. The system works at speeds of up to 37 mph, and can drastically reduce the C 43's turning radius while improving turn-in and handling.

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Just 55 of the SUV will be built.

Mercedes

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is an aspirational vehicle, and is one that shouts "I've made it" to the world. Its six-figure price tag legitimate military background, and hardcore off-road capabilities make it appealing on many levels, and there's even a go-fast version from AMG. The G63 cranks up the already bonkers G-Class to 11, with a big V8 and aggressive styling. To commemorate AMG's 55th year tuning Mercedes' vehicles, the automaker is releasing a limited "Edition 55" G 63.

Mercedes-AMG G 63 "Edition 55"The Edition 55 gets unique styling touches inside and out. Mercedes

Though the Edition 55 adds plenty of unique flair to the AMG-massaged G-Wagen, the SUV's beating heart remains untouched. It's a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 making 577 horsepower, and is good for a 0-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds. That's in an SUV with a curb weight just shy of 6,000 pounds. Four-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission are also standard.

Mercedes says the Edition 55 comes finished in Obsidian Black metallic and rides on 22-inch forged wheels, even though the images it sent to accompany the announcement clearly show a not-black SUV. It also comes with the AMG Night Package, which brings blacked-out trim and unique accents, and the fuel filler cap is embossed with the AMG logo. Inside, the cabin features a black and red color scheme with stainless steel accents throughout. Black velour floor mats stitched with "Edition 55" in red are standard, along with an AMG Performance steering wheel wrapped in microfiber. The seats are covered in black and red Nappa leather upholstery, and Edition 55 badges are seen throughout the space.

Mercedes-AMG G 63 "Edition 55"The 577-hp super SUV can sprint to 60 mph quicker than many sports cars. Mercedes

When Mercedes says "limited edition" here, it means business. Just 55 of the SUVs will be available in the United States, and will be released later this year. There's no word on ordering or pricing details yet, but it's a safe bet that the ultra-exclusive G-Wagen will sell out quickly.

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